Using sales playbooks to run your sales plays is the bedrock for successful sales meetings. And when a team has centralized access to a comprehensive playbook, they are more likely to run consistently effective plays and close more deals.
Let’s say your team doesn’t have an exhaustive sales playbook, and you don’t have the resources or time to create multiple playbooks for the different stages in your sales cycle or buyer personas. Well, the good news is that you can still build an effective sales playbook without having a ton of resources!
In this article, we will discuss how to create an effective sales playbook by focusing on essential key points.
Table of contents:
1. The first steps to create your playbook
2. Define your core sales playbook slides
- Slide 1: Why should they buy your product?
- Slide 2: Explain how you solve their main challenge
- Slide 3: Show a success story
- Slide 4: Initiate a call to action
+ Free sales playbook template!
The first steps to create your playbook
A sales playbook contains fundamental content like your product’s specific sales cycle, prospective customer information, battle cards, and sales plays for different scenarios.
When creating your core playbook, you want to use all these pieces to create a story. This structure will enable your reps to focus on the flow of conversation and ask the right questions.
Every customer has different challenges and needs, so your playbook needs to be a guide to help direct your reps in the right direction.
Step 1: Build rapport face-to-face
The first few minutes of a call is your chance to set the tone for the entire sales process. So make sure to set the stage well.
Reps can use this time to quickly align with prospects and set expectations for the meeting by:
- Confirming that all attendees are present
- Ensuring that they are still available for the scheduled amount of time
- Asking for recording consent
- Giving a brief overview of the agenda
- Checking if there is anything else they’d like to cover
Reps can also briefly reiterate the prospect’s current challenges based on their research and past conversations. This demonstrates to the prospect that the rep came prepared and helps establish a relationship built on trust and respect.
If your team starts their sales calls with these personal touches and allows the natural flow of the conversation to shine through, chances are high that they will have an engaging customer conversation from the very start.
Step 2: Guide reps using speaker notes
You can integrate speaker notes into each slide of your playbook to provide your sales reps with a step-by-step guide for running their meetings. This is especially helpful for new reps who are in the middle of onboarding and presenting the product for the first time.
Set up your speaker notes to reflect the different types of personas and meetings your reps will have. For example, you can emphasize that the introduction to a call should vary depending on whether the lead is an inbound or an outbound lead:
Inbound Speaker Notes
- Why did you reach out to us?
- What do you already know about our product/company?
- What would you like to get out of this call?
- Discuss your goals and challenges
- If the product seems like a good fit, I can give you a brief overview of how we can solve your problem, and then we can schedule the next steps (next slide)
- Call to action options. (schedule a call, free trial, etc.)
Outbound Speaker Notes
- Explain why you reached out
- Review how this meeting came about
- What motivated you to take this call?
Speaker Notes to Qualify the Lead
- How is your team currently structured?
- What does your current system/process look like?
- What are your goals over the next 6-12 months?
- Why is this so important to you?
- What would you gain by having this?
- How does this affect your team?
Using speaker notes helps you ramp up your sales reps faster and sell more effectively by creating a narrative that connects every core slide in your playbook.
Defining your core playbook slides
When creating your first sales playbook, you need to hone in on the key information that will allow you to thoughtfully tell your story. Typically, this should take about three to four slides.
Here is a breakdown of how to set up these slides for your first sales playbook template:
Slide 1: Why should they buy your product?
Once your reps understand their prospect’s main challenge(s), they can start focusing on how your product is able to solve them.
You should use this slide to give a high-level overview of how your product brings value to your customers and solves their problems. Since prospects are often focused on results, proactively answering these questions will grab their attention.
After your reps elaborate on the product’s value and confirm the prospect’s buy-in, it’s time to move on to your solution.
Slide 2: Explain how you solve their main challenge(s)
The demo portion of your playbook is when the prospect gets to see your product in action.
You want to ensure that the meeting runs as smoothly as possible for your team, with limited opportunities for interruption or disruption. One way to achieve this is by integrating your playbook directly into your demo environment.
For example, let’s say you have a SaaS product that is best displayed via a shared screen. Sharing your screen during a demo typically means that you need to switch between multiple browser tabs. But this can be distracting for your prospect and increases the likelihood of your reps losing hold of the narrative!
With a meeting tool like Demodesk, reps have easy access to all their sales content and prospects only see what is intentionally shared with them.
Being able to host the entire presentation in real-time through an interactive screen also sets them up for a more engaging demo that enhances the prospect’s knowledge retention.
Slide 3: Share a success story
Incorporating real customer feedback and case studies into your playbook is another way for your reps to demonstrate how your product can solve your prospect’s problems — because it’s been done before!
Let’s say one of your reps has a prospect who is interested in your product but is still hesitant to buy due to the cost. Your rep can refer to a specific case study about a customer that ended up saving money after implementing your product.
This directly addresses the prospect’s reason for doubt with a relevant reference that highlights the value your product brings.
To equip reps for the different scenarios they will face in their sales calls, you can include different case study slides that each focus on a different pain point.
Slide 4: Initiate a call to action
Once your reps feel confident that it makes sense to continue the conversation, they should lock in the next meeting while they still have the prospect's full attention.
Including a call to action slide in your playbook allows you to eliminate any possibility of prospects ghosting your reps and saves them from having to play phone tag and send endless “catch-up” emails.
(Pro tip: with Demodesk you can make scheduling the next steps memorable by making it interactive and allowing prospects to schedule the next call themselves!)
Not every sales team has the resources to create a nuanced and detailed playbook. However, with just a small collection of focused slides, reps can still be set up for success straight away.
In fact, a short yet impactful playbook has the benefit of safeguarding your reps from overwhelming their prospects with an information dump. This allows them to focus on maintaining their prospect’s attention and engagement.
Over time, and as your team grows, your sales playbook will also develop and evolve.
To help build your first sales playbook, download your First Playbook Template here!